Receive Guidance from an Experienced Federal Employee Attorney
In Houston, Pines Federal is one of the few law firms that focuses specifically on federal employee legal services. In particular, we place a heavy focus on serving federal workers’ compensation (FECA) claims. If you have been injured while working in the line of duty for the federal government, or have had an injury exacerbated while working on the job as a federal employee, our Houston federal employee attorneys can help.
Contact our federal workers’ compensation attorneys with the details of your claim, and we can recommend the appropriate action.
What Benefits Are Available to Me?
Federal employees, like workers in the private industry, are entitled to certain benefits if they are injured in the performance of their job or suffer an occupational disease. These benefits vest pursuant to the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act of 1971 (5 USC 8101), et seq. and are administered by the Department of Labor via the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP).
Some important items to note regarding federal workers’ compensation:
- The benefits that workers receive are largely dependent on the nature and extent of their injuries and/or illnesses. A federal worker’s family is also entitled to death benefits if the death resulted from a work-related injury or illness.
- For traumatic (i.e. accidental) injuries, you may be entitled to your regular pay as well as workers’ compensation medical benefits during the period of your disability.
- Occupational disease (i.e. injuries that develop over the course of multiple work shifts) may also entitle you to these same payments. An occupational illness includes repetitive injuries, such as carpal tunnel, toxic exposure or noise exposure leading to loss of hearing, etc.
You are entitled to choose your own medical provider, which may be an ophthalmologist, neurologist, osteopath, dentist or clinical psychologist. You can be reimbursed for mileage to and from your medical appointments, including trips to your pharmacist. You may also receive payment for hiring an attendant or someone to handle your daily chores or duties that you can no longer perform.
As an injured federal worker, you may be entitled to the following benefits:
- Continuation of pay
- Medical expenses
- Temporary total disability
- Permanent disability
Medical expenses may include:
- Medical treatment
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Medical assistance devices
Vocational rehabilitation benefits are available for permanently disabled individuals as well. A maintenance allowance of no more than $200 monthly may be paid. If you are in an OWCP-approved vocational rehabilitation program, you may be paid at the same rate as for total disability.
Temporary Total Disability
If your injury is not permanent but prevents you from working, you may continue to receive full pay for up to 45 days under a claim for Continuation of Pay (COP); however, COP is not considered a benefit of workers’ compensation and subject to taxation and deductions. Should your temporary disability extend beyond 45 days, you can use sick or annual leave and claim workers’ compensation.
For partial disability claims, you are paid two-thirds of your pay after the disability period begins. You get 75% of your pay if you are married or one or more dependents are claimed. Should your disability be from an occupational illness, you are only entitled to medical benefits and not your regular pay during the period of disability. However, once your occupational illness is approved you may go back and retroactively obtain your compensation and medical benefits.
There are scheduled rates of compensation for those individuals who sustain permanent impairment of limbs, organs, and/or bodily functions or even for partial loss. Serious disfigurement may also be compensated in this fashion. You are paid a certain sum for a prescribed number of weeks (e.g., for a lost arm, you are entitled to 312 weeks of compensation).
Loss of both legs or arms or one’s sight is considered evidence of permanent impairment; however, individuals who sustain such injuries may not necessarily be declared permanently and totally disabled. Many are entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits if they can perform work in another industry or vocation.
If you are fatally injured while in the performance of your job or from a work-related disease, your family is entitled to certain benefits. Your surviving spouse may receive 50%of your pay at the time of your death if there are no minor children or 45% if there are minor children who will each receive 15%.
If minor children are the sole dependents, the oldest child receives 40% and each additional child receives 15 percent to be shared equally. But benefits to the family are up to a maximum 75% of your monthly pay. Compensation to your spouse continues until his/her death or remarriage unless the remarriage occurs after the age of 55. Burial expenses are available but only up to $800.
Request a Consultation with Our Federal Employee Attorneys
Not all claims are approved and there is considerable complexity in this area of the law. Certain unique issues may arise concerning your disability status, and you may even be better suited to apply for benefits beyond workers’ compensation. At Pines Federal , our Houston federal employee lawyers focus exclusively on federal worker’s rights, including your right to workers’ compensation.
Call us at (800) 801-0598 for an in-depth assessment of your injury claim.